Here's what you need to know about the changes coming to your credit score
spotlight AP

Here's what you need to know about the changes coming to your credit score

  • 0
Credit Scores graphic

FICO announced Thursday its latest version of the FICO score. The new scoring model will take consumers' debt levels into account and will more closely track personal loans.

Your credit score could soon go down — or up.

FICO announced Thursday its latest version of the FICO score, a three-digit number that assesses a person's credit risk. The new scoring model will take consumers' debt levels into account and will more closely track personal loans.

Previous scoring models took snapshots of a person's payment history. The new model will take a historical view of payments over time and can process much more information, including account balances for the previous two years, aiming to give lenders more insight into how individuals are managing their credit, FICO said.

About 80 million people will see a shift of 20 points or more, according to a statement from Dave Shellenberger, vice president of product management at FICO. Of those, about half will see scores go up, while the other half will see their scores drop.

Those who have a high amount of credit card debt relative to their overall credit, or who have recently missed payments, could see a more significant drop.

But people who make on-time payments and don't carry high balances will likely see a slight increase in their score, Shellenberger said.

With a longer view of payments, consumers that pay their credit cards off monthly won't be penalized as much for one-time large purchases and occasional high balances. But those who consistently keep a balance will see a drop in their credit score. Paying off credit cards monthly will always result in a better score.

FICO estimates that an additional 110 million consumers will see only a modest change to score, if at all, he said.

"The bad news is that those who were already struggling with debt will be hit more drastically by the recent FICO changes," said Sefa Mawuli, a wealth adviser at Citrine Capital.

"The good news, though, is that the fundamentals we stress have not changed: make timely payments, avoid taking on too much debt. Those who abide by these guidelines will not see their credit scores drop under the changes," she said.

The new model targets personal loans, potentially penalizing those who use them, said Justin Pritchard, a certified financial planner and author of "The Everything Improve Your Credit Book: Boost Your Score, Lower Your Interest Rates, and Save Money."

"We've seen numerous personal loan providers enter the marketplace in recent years, so it's no surprise that those debts are increasing," he said. "People can borrow money online at competitive rates."

Americans are borrowing heavily, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Household debt increased by $92 billion in the third quarter of 2019 and is now $13.95 trillion.

The average FICO score rose to 706 in 2019, after bottoming out at 686 in Oct 2009, according to FICO.

The new changes are due to go into effect this summer.

In the meantime, Pritchard said, the fundamentals of maintaining a good credit score still apply: pay debts on time, maintain low credit card balances and don't get any more credit than you need.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated


Congratulations! You've got your first major job. Unfortunately, you've also got new tax obligations. Welcome to the workforce.

You probably want to deal with your taxes as quickly as possible. Most people do, regardless of their age. Unfortunately, if you breeze through tax forms, you might miss potential money-saving strategies like the ones below.

1. Review Withholding

Your W-4 form tells your employer how much of your salary you want to have withheld for taxes throughout the year. If you withhold too much money, you'll receive a refund when taxes are filed.

That sounds great – until you consider that you're asking the government to hold on to more of your money and give it back to you later. Why not withhold the correct amount and invest the money instead of letting the government earn interest on it?

The enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is reason enough to review your withholding, but it's also wise to update it to ...

Retirees Not Maximizing Tax Refunds

Will The New Tax Laws See A Rush On Divorces In 2018?

Tax Benefits Of Having Dependents

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News